Even Headphones Customize Sound to Your Hearing

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,580 23 9
#1
Brooklyn-based headphone startup Even says that every listener has a unique “EarPrint,” like a fingerprint that affects the way we hear. Its new technology tests your hearing and automatically adjusts the sound to create a personalized listening experience. They are taking it one step further and working with 3rd party manufacturers to license their technology.

Is this the future of headphone audio, or is it just a gimmick?

Even headphones.jpg


Read: Even Earprint Headphones
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
4,615 34 17
#2
I don't understand this. Human hearing is non-uniform but it can't be said to be "inaccurate" which is what this product is suggesting. People may not all hear the same way, but they do all hear the same thing. If you alter that thing or sonic event to somehow suite someone's ears, it can't really sound natural anymore, not even to them. The idea of "glasses for your ears" is nonsense, at least outside of hearing aids. Sonic events can not sound more natural to human hearing beyond a simple accurate reproduction of that event.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,290 14 4
#3
I don't understand this. Human hearing is non-uniform but it can't be said to be "inaccurate" which is what this product is suggesting. People may not all hear the same way, but they do all hear the same thing. If you alter that thing or sonic event to somehow suite someone's ears, it can't really sound natural anymore, not even to them. The idea of "glasses for your ears" is nonsense, at least outside of hearing aids. Sonic events can not sound more natural to human hearing beyond a simple accurate reproduction of that event.
So instead of focusing on proper fitment and sealing which is known to be the make or break factor in 'personal audio', this company wants to create a new problem - the software. I wonder where they learned that?

It's bad english - 'Room EQ' - to suggest the Room needs to be equalized.

No, the Sound needs to be equalized for the listening positions.

Both REQ and this are systems that rely on proprietary black magic software to achieve the advertised results, which have been inconsistent, at best.

To Gene's question - I sincerely hope this is just a gimmick, but the ever expanding REQ market suggests otherwise.
 
H

heroesunplugged

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
2
#6
Tried the demo and it wasn't "mind blowing". The mids and the bass were slightly enhanced, but nothing that can't be done with a standard graphic equalizer. Beryllium is used in the headphone drivers. Don't know if this is a concern. Some have argued that it can be a health risk.
 
GeneZ

GeneZ

Audiophyte
#7
When we hear live music it does not adjust to our ear differences.... What sound is being produced remains the same for everyone. Its our ears that alter what is heard.
So? How can you alter the sound for each ear to make it work? Its interesting data that has been collected... but what we hear does not adjust to us. Making recordings with wrongly used EQ sounds like the problem..
 
M

mrpetemd

Audiophyte
#8
I'm approaching 70 and of course high frequencies are becoming less detectable. Combine that with a measured 5db dip in my right ear between 300hz - 500hz (Too close to Buddy Miles's drums 40+ years ago)and this "technology" would be interesting. I took the test twice with different results; the first test did not compensate for my right ear dip; the second test did. There was some audible enhancement of the upper frequencies (fundamentals/harmonics ?) but equalization already available through some DSP apps could probaly do the same thing. I'll pass for now.
 
G

gfmucci

Enthusiast
Ratings
1
#9
This sounds like a great idea to me. An auto-calibration of an equalizer in the headphones to match our hearing deficiencies - and everyone has some. As a 72 year old I have a dedicated equalizer hooked up to every listening source, whether my tablet, phone, desktop computer or stereo system. We are deceiving ourselves if we over 40 deny hearing deficiencies, especially above 2 or 3 KHz. These phones would make it unnecessary to have equalizers everywhere as long as we moved them with us to the next listening spot.

Regarding "live" music, many are missing things without realizing it. With equalization, recorded music will sound better than live currently. It will sound, as we remember hearing a good live group years ago.

One observation about the trial system. The volume was definitely several db louder in the "after" mode than the "before" mode. Most experts say that everything being equal, the slightly louder sound will subjectively sound "better." It would have been a better comparison if the system reduced some frequencies and increased some frequencies so that the overall volume remained the same.
 
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KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,994 22 9
#10
I don't understand this. Human hearing is non-uniform but it can't be said to be "inaccurate" which is what this product is suggesting. People may not all hear the same way, but they do all hear the same thing. If you alter that thing or sonic event to somehow suite someone's ears, it can't really sound natural anymore, not even to them. The idea of "glasses for your ears" is nonsense, at least outside of hearing aids. Sonic events can not sound more natural to human hearing beyond a simple accurate reproduction of that event.
I generally agree.
If it adjusts the sound to some objective empirical target, it will sound wrong if it doesn't sound like the real thing (live acoustic music)!
However, I think you could make a decent case for the idea of being able to deliver the audio experience you may have had in your youth after you had incurred modest hearing losses (I'm not sure that is actually feasible for serious losses).
Of course that implies "mapping" your hearing in your youth!
 
A

alex30

Enthusiast
Ratings
2
#11
Music, or any sound, consists of different frequencies at different amplitudes and this is measurable with a high degree of precision. However not everyone hears these frequencies at the correct amplitude and we all hear differently. What "Even" is trying to do is compensate where our individual hearing falls short. So it will boost frequencies we are not hearing so well in order to get things closer to the measured response.
As long as this is done accurately you should hear more of what is actually present in the music and the end result should be that we will all hear more similarly with "Even" than without "Even" as some of our hearing deficiencies are compensated for.
Personally I found the demo with "Even" engaged to be quite a bit clearer.
 
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T

THXguru

Audiophyte
Ratings
6
#12
So, what happens when you have mild hearing loss? Mainly, your hearing threshold (should be around 0dB SPL at a few kHz) increases. But who listens to music at volumes around 0, or 10, or 20dB? At a more usual 60 to 100dB, the hearing threshold is not relevant anymore, so what's the problem at all?
Granted, there are other consequences as well, e.g. the threshold of pain decreases (you get more sensitive to high volume),and psychoacoustic masking mechanisms probably change a bit. But those things are way too complicated to be compensated by a simple EQ or the like. The brain, however, is much more powerful at correcting sensory shortcomings, it is constantly calibrating its sensors using known references, other senses etc., so as others pointed out, there is no objective point in equalizing or compensating anything. Of course you may personally like a certain EQ setting compared to another setting, but that is simply taste and should be found by subjective preference testing instead of medical hearing analysis.
Of course, stronger hearing loss is another thing. This really impairs your hearing at normal levels, but again, a simple EQ or just "turning it up" will hardly solve it. What you need in this case is - a hearing aid, with its sophisticated algorithms and acoustic parts, costing several 1000 $. Most hearing aids are however optimized for communication in difficult environments, not for recreating a somewhat natural, balanced perception of music. This is where a new product could shine, but it would still have to be based on all the medical, audiometric examinations, and use those sophisticated algorithms which have dozens of parameters which the audiologist iteratively adjusts to the individual needs. What would you guys think of such a "music hearing aid" headphone?
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,290 14 4
#13
So, what happens when you have mild hearing loss? Mainly, your hearing threshold (should be around 0dB SPL at a few kHz) increases. But who listens to music at volumes around 0, or 10, or 20dB? At a more usual 60 to 100dB, the hearing threshold is not relevant anymore, so what's the problem at all?
Granted, there are other consequences as well, e.g. the threshold of pain decreases (you get more sensitive to high volume),and psychoacoustic masking mechanisms probably change a bit. But those things are way too complicated to be compensated by a simple EQ or the like. The brain, however, is much more powerful at correcting sensory shortcomings, it is constantly calibrating its sensors using known references, other senses etc., so as others pointed out, there is no objective point in equalizing or compensating anything. Of course you may personally like a certain EQ setting compared to another setting, but that is simply taste and should be found by subjective preference testing instead of medical hearing analysis.
Of course, stronger hearing loss is another thing. This really impairs your hearing at normal levels, but again, a simple EQ or just "turning it up" will hardly solve it. What you need in this case is - a hearing aid, with its sophisticated algorithms and acoustic parts, costing several 1000 $. Most hearing aids are however optimized for communication in difficult environments, not for recreating a somewhat natural, balanced perception of music. This is where a new product could shine, but it would still have to be based on all the medical, audiometric examinations, and use those sophisticated algorithms which have dozens of parameters which the audiologist iteratively adjusts to the individual needs. What would you guys think of such a "music hearing aid" headphone?
Ah yes, the 'Presbycusis Correction Curve', I think Sean Olive was talking about that the other day...lol!
 
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Dirk Wright

Dirk Wright

Audiophyte
#14
Brooklyn-based headphone startup Even says that every listener has a unique “EarPrint,” like a fingerprint that affects the way we hear. Its new technology tests your hearing and automatically adjusts the sound to create a personalized listening experience. They are taking it one step further and working with 3rd party manufacturers to license their technology.

Is this the future of headphone audio, or is it just a gimmick?



I think it's great. I wish the software was available separately.
The nuraphone is different though. It has a tiny microphone in each ear cup and performs an otoacoustic emission test on each ear to tailor the sound to your specific hearing. I asked them about tinnitus, since that causes an otoacoustic response as well, and they did not have an answer for me. I believe tinnitus would obfuscate the results from an OEA test, so the Nuraphone would not work that well for me.
 
Pedro Alvarado

Pedro Alvarado

Audioholic
Ratings
26 1 1
#15
my phone has something like this. i have a samsung galaxy s7 edge, yes it is old but such a good phone.

when i push my lawn mower around, i use my jaybird 3 earphones. i also sometimes use my bose qc15 but not often due to the wire.

with the wired or paired bluetooth earphones/headphones in use, the built in app sends a series of tones and you need to click which ear you heard the tone.

at the end there is an a/b comparison for each ear or both at the same time.

you can only set it up for one pair though. if i switch from the Jays to the Bose i need to run the app for each.

obviously i don't blast my ears, i just want to keep the lawn mower noise down.

the active noise canceling on the bose is the better choice but the wire gets annoying. the jaybirds do an ok job of blocking most of the noise just by acting like an ear plug but the comedy channel on pandora is more entertaining.

anyway the app works. i listened with and without the adjustment. I'm glad samsung included this as part of the preinstalled software.

for only $149 i think the even is worth a try. I'll need to read a few reviews first though.
 

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